Sidetracks And Detours present PASS IT ON weekly walkabout 26, Sunday 12th November 2023

Hello. There´s a lot going on today. Steve  Cooke begins by identifying some Rochdale Pioneers looking for drama. He also reports on the official opening of an arts studio and has somehow found the time to deliver an excellent review of The Matrix: Re-imagined. We, of course, have an offering of Jazz In Reading and a preview of the jazz on air  you can listen to next week when Steve Bewick bakes another serving of Hot Biscuits. For music frfom a different genre our frends in the North Sea String Quartet have excting plans for a new album and EFE, now to be known as Sound Roots deliver the monthly UK folk charts. The Poet In The Rain identifies A Place For Poetry both on Lanzarote and in the Basque region. Ralph Dent looks at ´remembered music´ emanating from Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Americana musician Eric Taylor, before Peter Pearson shares with us details of sopme his most precious music DVDs, which all points forward to some great viewing to complement our recommended listening ! We close, as always, with Island Insights from Lanzarote, with Norman Warwick identifying a number of great sculptures around the island, all created by Cintia Machin, our favourite sculptor.


Researching Historu

The Dialect Of Painting:: Speaking For The Seven At A Telephone Auction

by Michael Higgins

all across the arts

Rochdale Pioneers Looking For Drama

preview by STEVE COOKE

all across the arts


Manchester´s new cultural landmark:

review by STEVE COOKE

all across the arts

free your mind at Aviva Studios            

a stunning re-imagining of The Matrix

review by STEVE COOKE

Live Jazz

Jazz at Oaken Grove Vineyard

Friday 17 November
Mike Piggott’s Hot Club Trio
Gates 6:30pm. Music from about 7:30pm,  £15 


Jazz On Air

Hot Biscuits served up by STEVE BEWICK

Recorded Music preview by




A Place For Poetry

A Festival With Two Venues: Lanzarote and Álava


Remembered Music

Jazz To Blues to Americana, The Road Goes On Forever


A Reader´s Perspective

All Points Forward

music, mandolin and Americana in  DVD forma


Island Insights

Canneries Of Garavilla honoured with a sculpture


Researching History

The Dialect of Painting:    

Speaking for the Seven at a telephone Auction             



In last week’s PASS IT ON I dwelt on a recent survey of south east English dialects, my Canadian author friend Jill Shakley, and the dearth of such differences within a 200 mile radius of Ottawa. She writes to remind me that there are subtle differences and of course vast differences in the (LEFT) between that of Newfoundland and Saskatchewan, albeit much farther away than 200 miles. My long term Canadian writer friend, Ian Young, also agrees but admits there is a standard Canadian way of speaking too.  My argument still is that 200 miles north of me in, Glasgow, the locals prattle away to each other in what to me seems an unfathomable mode of speech whilst in Ontario at least nowhere is there such a jar on common understanding. And as for London……

But this has all turned dialect and accent away from language onto fine art and the universal music of painting. Ian, poet, short story teller, and also author of The Male Homosexual in Literature, Encounters with Authors and the Stonewall Experiment, and London Skin and Bones, is one of my oldest friends from my teenage and early twenties time in Toronto. This year he sent me a Group of Seven wall calendar, which hangs over my desk in my study. November’s illustration is AY Jackson’s 1919/20 painting: First Snow, Algoma, depicting woolly snowflakes falling on a carpet of brown and yellow trees and hilly landscape.  I recall many trips with Ian to the Art Gallery of Ontario, and my own youthful interest in art after we first met when I was a high school teenage dropout and Ian was in his last year at the University of Toronto.  Ian published one of my poems on a Botticelli painting in his then pioneering anthology, The Male Muse (Crossing Press, 1973). I titled it The Boy Botticelli Painted, and saw the long-haired youth of the painting as a shadow of me with the years and brush strokes coming. Whether or not we are all portraits in someone else’s mirror of a canvas, there is something about seeing them in an art gallery, and on my very infrequent trips to London I always try to drop into the National Portrait Gallery for gaze into the faces of the past.

But AY Jackson’s painting in my calendar (left) is a stark landscape, emotionless and still, with not a soul in sight, nor any living animal. Only tree, groundswell and dark grey sky set a mood. The front cover of the calendar is a September scene by JEH Macdonald entitled Forest Wilderness,1921. Again neither man nor beast infringes this quiet panorama of wilderness and grace. I was always struck by the Group of Seven after school art lessons and visits to the art gallery supported my love of the wild on holidays to the Haliburton Highlands and Algoma. On one of my return visits to Canada I managed to visit the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario, where most of the group’s paintings are on display. As I walk through my own semi rural English landscape of Tandle Hill Woods by Royton, in northwest England today I often hark back to the bear and skunk graced bushland of rural Ontario, especially now with the leaves in all their Autumn glory. Only owls disturb the piece here though.

And a few months ago one of today’s views from Tandle Hill (700 feet above sea level) (right) overlooking the high rise silhouettes of Manchester to the distant Welsh Mountains was brought back to me in the form of an 1870 painting by John  Holland entitled  A View from the foot of Tandle Hill, Gerrard Wood and Slattocks to Middleton from the foot of Tandle Hill

The painting in question was brought to my attention by a friend and fellow habitué of the Tandle Hill Tavern, Paul, who often buys antiques and books via internet auctions. He brought a printout portrait of the view in for me to see and we discussed buying it for the community, as sharing a painting for hanging over our fireplaces seemed impractical.

The view showed a lost landscape of isolated houses, farms and a distant town of Middleton in the background. It also highlighted the now demolished bleachworks with its several ponds, most of which are now used for fishing. A distant steam train chuffs and chugs in the distance but in the foreground are rural folk, one on horseback and one with a dog. I was reminded of a similar photograph by Hilton taken from the slopes of Tandle Hill in the same year but looking East toward the hilly slopes of High Crompton. There a group of people in the foreground (with the ubiquitous dog)  are holding a picnic and reading a newspaper headlined ‘War’ (Franco Prussian War).  I determined to try to acquire the view toward Middleton painting and contacted other historians, including Dr Robert Poole, who contacted Oldham Art Gallery. The Art Gallery said they were not going to bid for the painting so I contacted Geoff  Oliver of Royton Local History Society who had already been discussing the painting with Frances Stott. The Society was not going to bid either.  Along with a few other interested souls we formed ‘The Royton Seven’ consortium to bid for the painting privately.  Historically Royton folk are known as ‘The Seven’, and famously, at Bingo evenings ,whenever the number seven comes up the caller shouts ‘One for the Roytoners’. 

On the day of the bid Frances and I did the bidding, with me using a second line while Frances put the actual bids in on the main line. It was an interesting experience, especially since a painting earlier in the afternoon had eventually sold for £28,000. Ours was ranged at £500-£1,000 but the bidding soon went from incremental £5O jumps to $100 leaps. It actually went up to £3,500 until our last bid finally  caused the  only other bidder left to drop out.  Frances and I heaved a sigh of relief and enjoyed a welcome glass of single malt whisky after the tension of bidding over a landline to voices and auction jargon in a faraway London salesroom.

As we had promised to donate the painting to Oldham Art Gallery on the  proviso it was eventually hung in Royton Town Hall now under renovation, the gallery undertook to collect the painting and carry out any necessary cleaning or restoration work. Then followed the signing over of the picture, which we each had to do separately. Frances and I were on hand at the gallery when the van finally arrived with the painting. When  possible reframing and cleaning is complete we are told there will be some sort of press release/ official handover, with the painting going into storage until it can be hung in Royton’s  newly refurbished Town Hall – hopefully in the Spring of 2024. Then there will be a more formal handover ceremony.

So that is my first and possibly last experience of buying a painting at auction. The view from Tandle Hill is not in the same league as the Canadian Group of Seven but it does have a human and animal element, and as it depicts a by now half vanished landscape of a hundred and fifty or so years ago, and is local, it is almost a painting in dialect. Indeed, the Gerrard Wood mentioned in the painting’s title is actually pronounced ‘Jarret Wood’ in local speech, but as the painter was a visitor from eastrn England we can forgive him for writing it in standard English.


PS. The sister painting to A View from the Foot of Tandle Hill – A View to High Crompton now hangs in nearby Crompton Library, which like Royton, now comes under the overlordship of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council.

all across the arts

Rochdale Pioneers Looking For Drama

preview by STEVE COOKE

Rochdale Pioneers are looking for an am-dram group to participate in short sketch sequence to be videoed for their anniversary. They would like to involve local people in a Gracie Fields inspired sketch.

If your group would like to participate, please Email:

Situated in Rochdale Town Centre the Rochdale Pioneers Museum (right) is widely regarded as the home of the worldwide Co-operative movement. 179 years ago, on December 21, 1844, the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society opened their first little store selling pure, unadulterated food at fair prices and honest weights and measures.

The Pioneers started a revolution in retailing which has played a significant part in our lives ever since. The ground floor of the museum faithfully recreates the original shop together with its rudimentary furniture and scales. Here the basic needs of daily life such as butter, sugar, flour, and oatmeal first went on sale 179 years ago.

In the display and exhibition area you can learn of the inspiration the Pioneers received from visionaries such as the great social reformer Robert Owen; see how the profits from the shop were returned to the members in the form of a ‘dividend’; and watch the story unfold of the Co-op’s subsequent success. The Pioneers used the room upstairs to provide members with further education. Now you can journey back in time as you view examples of early advertising, packaging, and retailing artefacts. Special displays feature a unique collection of Co-operative postage stamps, commemorative china and plateware and rare dividend coins and commodity tokens.

Open Wednesday-Saturday 10.30-16.00

Rochdale Pioneers Museum

31 Toad Lane, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, OL12 0NU

Phone: 0)1706 524920

all across the arts


Manchester´s new cultural landmark:

review by STEVE COOKE

Manchester’s new cultural landmark Aviva Studios certainly has the WOW factor. A stunning architectural achievement at the cutting edge of performance space technology.

The OMA-designed venue, the new permanent home of Factory International, is the UK’s largest investment in a national cultural project since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000.

World-leading artists Danny Boyle, Es Devlin, Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy, Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante and Sabrina Mahfouz collaborate on opening production Free Your Mind, a dramatic reimagining of the classic sci-fi film The Matrix.

2024 programme highlights announced at the press conference include Robert Wilson and CocoRosie’s adaptation of The Jungle Book, Ivan Blackstock’s TRAPLORD and new works by Laurie Anderson, Maxine Peake and more.

This is now the permanent home of Factory International, officially opened ton 18 October with the world premiere of Free Your Mind, a large-scale immersive performance based on The Matrix. Bringing together a world-leading creative team and 50 professional dancers, this dramatic reimagining of the classic 1999 sci-fi film has been designed especially for Aviva Studios and takes place throughout the building’s ultra-flexible spaces.

Directed by Danny Boyle, Free Your Mind brings together the visceral movement of choreographer Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy with a powerful score from renowned composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante (co-founders and artistic directors of the Olivier award-winning Boy Blue), set design by world-leading artist and designer Es Devlin and the work of the acclaimed writer Sabrina Mahfouz.

Designed by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Aviva Studios is a global destination for arts, music and culture located at the heart of new St John’s neighbourhood in Manchester, a burgeoning city centre hub for creativity and digital innovation. The development is led by Manchester City Council, with backing of £99.05m from HM Government and £7m National Lottery funding from Arts Council England. It is supported by Aviva, the UK’s leading Insurance, Wealth and Retirement business, as principal partner to the venue.

The design of the 13,350-square-metre building is based around large, open, flexible spaces that can be constantly reconfigured, enabling artists to create large-scale ambitious works of a kind not seen anywhere else in the world, and providing a canvas to make, explore and experiment. The 21-metre-high Warehouse is the ultimate flexible performance space with capacity for up to 5,000 people standing. It is taller than four double decker buses stacked on top of each other and just under the length of a Boeing 747 aeroplane, and can be divided by a movable, full-height acoustic wall. The Hall features a flexible stage and can house an audience of up to 1,603 seated or 2,000 standing. The Warehouse and the Hall can also work together, with the proscenium capable of opening fully into the Warehouse and allowing the stage to run deeper into the building. The design of Aviva Studios has been led by OMA Partner Ellen van Loon and is the practice’s first major public project in the UK.

Programmed and operated by Factory International, the organisation behind Manchester International Festival, Aviva Studios will host a year-round programme of original productions and special events across all artforms – from major exhibitions and concerts to intimate performances and immersive experiences.

2024 programme highlights include original live performances by world-renowned artists. Visionary director Robert Wilson teams up with surreal folk duo CocoRosie to retell Kipling’s renowned novel Jungle Book (March 2024), their fourth theatre collaboration; Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom, and Imogen Knight join forces with Gazelle Twin and Daisy Johnson to present a feminist theatrical reimagining of John Bowen’s Robin Redbreast – first broadcast as part of the BBC’s Play for Today series in 1970 and widely regarded as a precursor to The Wicker Man (Robin/Red/Breast, May 2024); award-winning dance artist and cultural innovator Ivan Michael Blackstock presents the Olivier award-winning TRAPLORD (Sept 2024), a dance performance meditating on life, death and rebirth; and a new music and multi-media theatrical experience by Laurie Anderson, ARK (Nov 2024) will explore how the world needs to change in order to be saved. Other highlights include a visual feast for the senses by the award-winning Marshmallow Laser Feast (July to Aug 2024), a stage spectacle combining Chinese and South Asian dance, data, and video from multi-disciplinary artist Keith Khan (May 2024) and an interactive symphony by Chinese composer Huang Ruo and BBC Philharmonic (June 2024).

Following Free Your Mind, Aviva Studios will host The Welcome (11-19 Nov 23), a nine-day programme of music, circus, art and fashion developed by Greater Manchester residents – an invitation from local people to celebrate the new cultural space, Johnny Marr presents two nights of music with an orchestra made up of northern musicians (7-8 Dec), and a stage adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ award-winning book Lost and Found (13 Dec 23 – 6 Jan 24) from BAFTA award-winning director Will Brenton with music from Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals will close out the year.

Aviva Studios will also add to the city’s thriving music scene, presenting a rich selection of gigs, including in-house concerts and collaborations with local and national promotors. More details of these and other programme will be announced over the coming months.

As one of the most important cultural developments in Europe, Aviva Studios is predicted to add £1.1 billion to the economy of Manchester and the surrounding region over the next decade, creating or supporting up to 1,500 direct and indirect jobs and providing skills, training, and creative opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Through the Factory Academy, Aviva Studios will become a major training centre for the creative workforce of the future, providing opportunities for careers in creative industries, Manchester’s fastest-growing sector, while talent development initiatives will create opportunities for artists from the North of England, particularly those most underrepresented in the sector.

New opportunities, which have just opened for application, include Artist Takeover, a new Factory International programme which offers artists from any discipline the chance to experiment in Aviva Studios’ flexible spaces, alongside guidance from industry experts; the annual Factory Fellowship which gives emerging artists the chance to work and learn alongside international creatives; and Factory Sounds which provides opportunities for creatives involved in Greater Manchester’s music scene.

Reflecting Factory International’s commitment to ensuring access to the widest possible audiences, 5,000 tickets have been made available for Free Your Mind at £10 or less as part of an affordable pricing strategy that will see discounted and Aviva £10 tickets for Manchester communities across its year-round programme.

John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Factory International, said: “I’m so excited and proud to be welcoming audiences to the official opening of our magnificent new home. At every stage in imagining and building this extraordinary space, we have focused on creating new possibilities – for artists to let their imaginations fly, for citizens of Manchester and the world to meet and dream, and for people of all ages and backgrounds to build skills and gain experience. Our official opening production, the Matrix-inspired Free Your Mind has been created especially for this moment by an incredible team, alongside an extraordinary mix of dancers, creatives, and local participants, and is uniquely designed to showcase the versatility and ambition of the space. We can’t wait to welcome you all to experience it!”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Today is a landmark moment for culture not just in Manchester but the North of England and indeed the UK as a whole. This internationally-important venue, extraordinary in its scale and ambition, will open up a world of possibilities for people in this city – inspiring creativity and nurturing careers in the arts. As a major new visitor destination, Aviva Studios will also create and support a great many jobs and add to the vibrancy which makes Manchester such an exciting city. It’s a unique venue, a real asset for the future which will stimulate minds and spirits as well as acting as a catalyst to economic growth and opportunities.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Aviva Studios is set to make a huge difference to the social, economic, and cultural life of people across Greater Manchester and the North, as well as attracting national and international visitors to the city. Manchester International Festival has demonstrated that ambitious projects can stretch our imagination and that there is a need for a space of this size and versatility in Manchester. This extraordinary building will allow Factory International to build on its international reputation for developing and delivering world class artistic activity and will enable young people to forge a career in the arts. None of this would have been possible without the public funding invested in the development nor without the commitment of Manchester City Council and its belief that culture really can transform lives. Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to this landmark achievement.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “From dance and theatre to concerts and exhibitions, there will be something for everyone at this state-of-the-art new venue, which was made possible through nearly £100 millions of government funding. Aviva Studios will maximise the potential of the creative industries in Manchester and beyond, creating opportunities for local talent and bringing more world-class culture to the city. The Government’s support for this venue demonstrates our commitment to increasing access to arts and creativity across the country and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it brings to Manchester, both culturally and economically.”

This is the most exciting project for creatives that I have seen, and I urge you to have a look for yourselves – whether at a show or exhibition of to enjoy a drink or some food in the most welcoming, inclusive, and welcoming space I have experienced.

all across the arts

free your mind at Aviva Studios

a stunning re-imagining of The Matrix

review by STEVE COOKE

To mark the official opening of Manchester’s enormous Aviva Studios – the new permanent home of Factory International – Free Your Mind, a reimagining of the cult, seminal film The Matrix is the perfect show to highlight the full extent of this wonderful performance/exhibition space’s potential.

The invited audience were invited to follow the white rabbit [literally] to be taken on a thrilling journey through the film’s most iconic scenes being realised through stunning hip hop dance with extraordinary costumes, music, and visual effects.

Created by Danny Boyle [Director], Es Devlin [Set designer], Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy [Choreographer], Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante [Composer], Sabrina Mahfouz [Book writer] with Lucy Carter [Lighting designer], Gareth Fry [Sound designer] and Luke Halls [Video/projection designer].

The core team of creatives have some track record with Danny Boyle having worked previously with the co-founders of hip-hop dance company Boy Blue – Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante on a segment involving hundreds of dancers for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony and Es Devlin, who has worked on everything from the 2012 Closing Ceremony to the Super Bowl half-time show in 2022.

Together, with writer Sabrina Mahfouz they are the creators of a piece featuring 50 professional dancers from the North West and across the UK, and almost 100 participants from Greater Manchester.

The Matrix hit cinema screens in 1999 since when a tremendous amount of change has occurred in the everyday technology affecting our lives including such as social media, google, amazon, smart phones, and all-seeing CCTV.

Free Your Mind opens in the Hall – Aviva Studios’ 1,603-seat theatre and concert space – with and AI simulation of Alan Turing on a 1940’s television. Ian Harris dances as Turing as his words take us through how the computer scientist came to the city in 1948 to work on the Manchester Baby, the first machine with memory. Resonating with the current debate around the future of AI we are asked ‘Should we have worried at machines being able to think?’ Poignantly we are also given a glimpse of Turing’s personal tragedy as a gay man in post-war England.

The core team of creatives have some track record with Danny Boyle having worked previously with the co-founders of hip-hop dance company Boy Blue – Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante on a segment involving hundreds of dancers for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony and Es Devlin, who has worked on everything from the 2012 Closing Ceremony to the Super Bowl half-time show in 2022.

Matrix motifs then bombard our senses with Corey Owens as Neo, the handsome hacker on the run, Nicey Belgrave his love interest Trinity rocking a red wig and long black leather coat, Mikey Ureta, looking sharp in sunglasses, leading the troop of predatory agents. One memorable segment calls to mind the amniotic pods of the film; mouths pressed up against the fabric in silent howls.

For the interval we follow white rabbits into the cavernous public space to encounter ‘floating’ agents that makes us gasp and reach for our phones.

For the second half we are divided into two groups, red banded and blue banded, and guided into the Warehouse, demonstrating the space’s versatility, and looking very different from my last visit for the MIF23 Yayoi Kusama’s You, Me, and the balloons exhibition. This space, that is almost as long as a Boeing 747, has a catwalk stage slicing through its centre and similarly long, narrow video screens above it. As the video screen rises, we see our red banded fellow audience members situated on the other side of the catwalk.

We are blitzed with striking images, both on stage and on screen. Gareth Pugh’s costumes stunningly capture technology in wearable form, from the familiar blue ticks and thumbs-up of social media to ominously ubiquitous CCTV surveillance cameras.

Free Your Mind is an ensemble affair, the brilliantly directed and choreographed dancers working crisply and with great style in numerous battle scenes – plus some welcome moments of genuine humour and style.

Together, with writer Sabrina Mahfouz they are the creators of a piece featuring 50 professional dancers from the North West and across the UK, and almost 100 participants from Greater Manchester.

The Matrix hit cinema screens in 1999 since when a tremendous amount of change has occurred in the everyday technology affecting our lives including such as social media, google, amazon, smart phones, and all-seeing CCTV.

Free Your Mind opens in the Hall – Aviva Studios’ 1,603-seat theatre and concert space – with and AI simulation of Alan Turing on a 1940’s television. Ian Harris dances as Turing as his words take us through how the computer scientist came to the city in 1948 to work on the Manchester Baby, the first machine with memory. Resonating with the current debate around the future of AI we are asked ‘Should we have worried at machines being able to think?’ Poignantly we are also given a glimpse of Turing’s personal tragedy as a gay man in post-war England.


Live Jazz

Jazz at Oaken Grove Vineyard

preview by JAZZ IN READING

Friday 17 November
Mike Piggott’s Hot Club Trio
Gates 6:30pm. Music from about 7:30pm,  £15 

Here’s news of a further great event in the series Jazz at Oaken Grove Vineyard

The Vineyard is located at Benhams Lane, Fawley, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6JG.

Guests are welcome to enjoy drinks on the wine terrace before the jazz starts, Wines from the vineyard as well as other guest wines and local beers will be available to order.

Jazz vioilinist, Mike Piggott, presents and entertaining programme of jazz favourites from the music of Stephane Grappelli, Django Reinhart and The Quintet of the Hoit Club Of France, Cole Porter, Fats Waller,, George gewrshwin and through to the ´blues´.

The show also includes the music of other jazz violinists including Joe Venuti and Stuff Smith,, as well as featuring one or two unusual instruments, so this is not just for jazz fans, but so much jazz .earned him high plaudits.

He is, according to the New York Times, one of the best jazz swing fiddlers anywhere.and Jazz UK have a dubbed him ´the master of the violin,

Mike records and tours and performs (as both guitarist and violinist with a wide range of artists including Ralph McTell, Bert Jansch, Phil Collins, Diz Disley, John Etheridge, Nigel Kennedy, Howard Alden, Gary Potter, The Keith Nichols Ragtime Orchestra and Guy Barker´s ´Bix´ concert series at The Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and The Hot Club of London. He was also, for seven years a member of Pentgangle (having replaced John Renbourn in the original line up).. Mike is featured in the Joe Venuti role in the Russell Davies television film of The Lowest of The Low, a history of the bass saxophone.His Festival appearances have seen him play alongside US Jazz stars Bucky Puzzarelli, Ken Peploski and Marty Gross.

He is an occasional member of Martin Taylor´s Spirit Of Django and John Etheridge´s Sweet Chorus and Mik´w sowk has beenb mentioned in the book ¨Stephen Grappelli With And Without Django, published by Sanctuary and written by Paul Balmer.

Mike has also spent five years as violin tutor at Darrington International Summer School with the Herbie Flowers Rockshop, featuring Nils Solberg on guitar and vocals ad Richard Pite on double bass.

On air sign background

Jazz On Air

Hot Biscuits served up by STEVE BEWICK

Hello Jazzes’, due to technical problems of getting access to last weeks broadcast including a session from Munch Manship with Paul Kilvington Saxes and keyboard. We have corrected the error and is available following the link below. This re-broadcast includes some of the best vibraphone players in Jazz as suggested to me on Facebook. These include, Lionel Hampton and Benny Goodman, `stealing apples`. Milt Jackson, `bags groove`. Victor Feldman playing, `Serpent’s tooth.` Terry Gibbs Quartet with Terry Pollard, Piano and Vibes. finishing with Bobby Hutcherson Quartet playing Maiden Voyage. Catch it at 24/07

Logo Recorded Music


Thank you for being a part of our incredible journey over the past six years.

During this time we have released several EP’s, and each one served as a moment of reflection on our musical path as a string quartet outside the box. It all started with hanging some mics in a kitchen in Berlin in 2017 where we recorded the EP ‘Kitchen Sessions‘, followed by ‘Feldwerk‘ in 2018. In 2019, we recorded the EP ‘Songs for Flying’ with Roland Satterwhite. Despite pandemic challenges, we proudly released the album ‘Electric Amazigh‘ in 2021, our first collaboration with friend and Canary Islands guitarist Javier Infante.

Now, we look to the future and we are thrilled to announce the upcoming release of our first full-length and entirely original debut album! This milestone marks a significant achievement in our quartet’s career, as we’re bringing you a complete record brimming with original compositions written by all quartet members. The album is going to be recorded in December and scheduled to launch in May 2024 under 7 Mountain Records label. We’re excited to share that we have planned an album release tour in the Netherlands, starting in the very same month, with international concert dates to follow in the autumn.

The production of such an album comes with a big price tag, though. We’ve been fortunate to receive financial support from Sena Muziekproductiefonds, allowing us to kickstart the recording process in December. However, this is not enough to cover all the costs, such as studio rental, editing, mixing,  artwork and PR

So we need your support. It is vital and means the world to us. We have been working hard for the last six years and we can’t thank you enough for still being part of the NSSQ family. If you can’t contribute financially, you can still help us by spreading our crowdfunding to your friends during the next 30 days to ensure we reach as many people as possible. 

With heartfelt appreciation,

Yanna, Pablo, George & Thomas,


Remembered Music

Jazz To Blues to Americana, The Road Goes On Forever

says Ralph Dent

Billie Holiday (left) was a famous American jazz singer who recorded her most prized musical work between 1935 and 1942. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, spent her early childhood in Baltimore, Maryland, and lived the rest of her life in New York City, New York, where she was discovered and most often performed. She is best known, perhaps, for her courageous recording of Strange Fruit, a song about racism and segregation.

photo Louis Armstrong grew up in dire poverty in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a child, he worked odd jobs and sang in a boys’ quartet. In 1913 he was sent to the Colored Waifs Home as a juvenile delinquent. There he learned to play the cornet in a band, and playing music quickly became a passion. Strangely, though, he is perhaps now best remembered for his vocalisation the song What A Wonderful World,

The two occasionally performed live together and even made recordings together. They surely could never have foreseen what has happened in recent years to a song from one of those recording sessions.

photo The song in question is You Can´t Lose A Broken Heart and it was no surprise to hear it being recorded several years later by Tony Bennett, on a duets album of 2002 with kd lang, in a not dissimilar style to that which Billie and Louis had employed.

But it is a major surprise, surely, that the song has recently spawned a response composition, written by a man that the magazine No Depression calls  an enigmatic elder statesman of Texas folk. It is true that Taylor writes and sings as well as his fellow wordsmiths, and yet his music is a sound apart. A couple of decades ago he was married to Nanci Griffith, wrote and recorded with her, and figured prominently in the Anderson Fair scene and a blossoming Texas folk club culture. But there’s neither outlaw bravado nor coy preciousness in his voice: He recalls more a Southern Bill Morrissey in his low, talky growl and in the stripped soul of his deeply charactered vignettes.

His self-titled 1995 release on Watermelon was a revelation, notably for the interior monologue “Dean Moriarty”, which is much more than a contribution to a legend. Like Taylor’s best work, the song forms a vivid picture of relationships trying to survive time and loss. Resurrect feels like a sequel to that record, musically arranged to find lushness in spareness, strength in intimacy: just guitar, piano, melodic bass, low, echoing percussion.

His lines and melodies have the concision of blues, his stories never indulge in ephemeral confessions; they feel necessary, composed somehow from the fragments of every man and woman’s story. “Louis Armstrong’s Broken Heart”, for one, masterfully balances a litany of images with a narrative distinct as cinema verite: It is surely a child of the Holiday / Armstrong song You Can´t Lose A Broken Heart made in 1949.

“I know a place where the whistle blows And the brakeman falls apart. It’s a pocket watch and bloody nose. It’s Louis Armstrong’s broken heart, It’s Louis Armstrong’s broken heart.”

Taylor (left) deserves a hearing from anyone who numbers Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt amongst their song-writing heroes, and I suggest you stroll the sidetracks and detours in search of Louis Armstrongs Broken Heart

A Reader´s Perspective: All Points Forward

music, mandolin and Americana in  DVD forma


Most of the music DVDs in my collection are not amongst those that you would find in your local HMV store -certainly not now but maybe in the good old days when they used to be much larger stores and more of them. In those days there was also the likes of Tower Records to mail order from or to visit and also obtain my copy of Dirty Linen (a folk music magazine, in case anybody should get the wrong impression of me) to read on the long train journey back home, on my frequent business visits to London.

I’ll start, as I did last week, with non Americana/Folk.

I enjoy a wide variety of classical music and am fascinated by documentaries about violin making and guitar making:

  1. Janine Jansen-Falling For Stradivari-Blu-ray DVD

photo 1 Janine Jansen is a Dutch virtuoso classical violinist. The 43 year old plays the great concert halls around the world on her Shumsky Stradivari violin, named the Shumsky because it was previously played by the great violinist Oscar Shumsky and loaned to her by a european benefactor.

Most Strads are owned by very rich people and loaned to virtuoso violinists for the duration of their career.Rarely does the violinist own the Strad. It’s a bit like the great works of Art-loaned to galleries.

This video is in two parts. The first part shows her visiting Beare’s in London to trial 12 of the most celebrated Strads in the world, in seeking to become the first person to ever play and record an album of twelve vituoso pieces on 12 of the most coveted Strads in the world.

Some of the violins needed restoration to bring them up to modern day concert hall standard,either because they had never been played in such halls or had lain dormant for such a long time.The restoration process is fascinating, as is the history given for each instrument.

The second part is a recital of the 12 virtuoso pieces on the 12 instruments individually selected according to tonal qualities for each piece.

2) The Chisels are Calling- Amazon Prime download

photo 2 This is a profile of the legendary guitar and mandolin luthier John Monteleone, based in the USA. Mark Knopfler wrote the song Monteleone(featured on his album -Get Lucky) in the course of commissioning a guitar from him. Monteleone used to end their frequent phone calls on progress by saying- must go now, the chisels are calling-time to make sawdust. The lyrics tell the guitar makers story starting with this sign- off lyric.

The film covers the history of guitar making; shows Monteleone in his workshop working on the instruments, sourcing the timber,his personal history and has interviews with many of the famous classical and rock guitarists who have commissioned his work.

3) For the Sake of the Song-The Story of Anderson Fair-DVD

photo 3 Anderson Fair, like The Station Inn in Nashville and McCabes in California, is one of the iconic American singer songwriter venues.

Nanci Griffith recorded her 1988 album One Fair Summer Evening at Anderson Fair ( Retail Restuarant). She said if it wasn’t for Anderson Fair I wouldn’t have been driven to write songs the way I was.Her song Spin on a Red Brick Floor, featured on her 1985 album, Once in a Very Blue Moon,describes the venue and name checks Tim Leatherwood, the venues owner.  “Well I could use a little spin on a red brick floor in that crazy o’l bar when Tim locks the door”

For over fifty years the venue has nutured the careers of some of the finest acoustic singer songwritwriters in America. Started in 1969 in Houston as a restuarant by businessmen, Marvin Anderson and Gray Fair,it soon developed into an intimate performance venue.Its policy is that if you don’t write your own songs, you don’t play there.The documentary traces the history of the venue via interviews with and performances by some of the great performers to appear there -Vince Bell,Guy Clark,Nanci Griffith, Eric Taylor, Dave Van Ronk, Lucinda Williams, Townes Van Zandt,Lyle Lovett and many more.It contains fascinating unique archive footage.

4) Heartworn Highways-DVD

photo 4 This video is a documentary of what in 1975 was termed the Outlaw Country Movement in Texas and Tennessee (recall the book referred to last week-The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock) The focus is on Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt,Steve Earle, a young Rodney Crowell and Steve Young. The scene showing Townes singing Waitin Around To Die at the home of Uncle Seymour Washington, who tears and nods his head at the lyrics, is alone worth the price of the DVD.

A Blu-ray has recently been made available. It was originally made for US TV and then VHS distribution.

5) When in Doubt Do Something-The Story of Harry Chapin. DVD.

photo 5 Harry Chapin was a great American singer songwriter and philanthropist who died in 1981 aged 39 following a car accident.

I was lucky enough to see him in concert at the Ardwick Appolo Manchester in April 1977. The memory is as vivid as if it were yesterday.My diary says it was a 3 hour concert.I left the concert hoping to see him over here many more times.Sadly it was not to be.

He campaigned tirelessly to end world hunger and devoted much of his concert and album earnings to the cause. So much so that the huge number of benefit concerts he did was a factor in the huge workload contributing to the circumstances resulting in the accident.

This documentary made in 2020, traces his career in music and his involvement in humanitarian causes. His widow Sandy was immortalised in the biographical song I Wanna Learn a Love Song which is based on their meeting when she asked him to give her music lessons.

Following his death Sandy said he wasn’t interested in money-money is for people ,so he gave it away to charities. At 91 she continues to run the Harry Chapin Foundation, dedicated to good causes.

6) An Evening in Austin-Kate Wolf DVD-CD.

photo 6 This is a concert performance of another great singer songwriter gone too soon. Kate Wolf died of leukemia in 1986 aged 44. This is the DVD of her Austin City Limits concert in 1985, just months before her diagnosis. It was her first major television performance and at the height of her career, was a great success. It also spawned a CD of the concert.

I note that she was featured in Sidetracks and Detours issue 9th October 2020-Kate Wolf -Maker of Songs. Norm’s piece tells you all you need to know. A truly great singer songwriter and endearing personality.

Island Insights

Canneries Of Garavilla honoured with a sculpture


The president of the Cabildo (government) of Lanzarote, Oswaldo Betancort, recently inaugurated a sculpture made in honourr of the women who worked hard in the island’s canning industry in the nineteen sixties and seventies. Lancelot Digital reported that the figure pays tribute to the strength and resilience of those women who joined the world of work around extractive fishing and its industrial transformation in a time of great economic explosion

The unveiling (right) of the sculpture, designed by the Lanzarote artist Cintia Machín, (an artist about who you can find out more from our easy to negotiate archives of over 1,000 articles in our daily noit-for-profit blog at Sidetracks And Detours), took place as part of the commemoration of the International Day of Rural Women, which is celebrated every October 15. In addition to the sculptor and women who worked from a very young age in the factories of Arrecife, the unveiling was attended by the vice president of the Cabildo, Jacobo Medina; the Minister of Equality, Marci Acuña, and the Mayor of Arrecife, Yonathan de León, among other public representatives.

After unveiling the figure of homage to the canning woman in the area of the old Garavilla factory, on the Vía Medular de Arrecife, President Oswaldo Betancort highlighted the leading role played by the women of Lanzarote and neighbouring island La Graciosa in the fishing industry at a time when 80% of female employment depended on this sector. It is worth remembering that the canning industry in Lanzarote reached its maximum economic weight between 1950 and 1980, even concentrating 90% of the Spanish sardine fleet during those years. In addition, at the beginning of the 80s, the fishing business accounted for 70% of the island’s economy.

“Today is a special day because we are gathered here to pay tribute to women who have been pillars of our community and silent guardians of an emblematic tradition in our land: the women canners of Lanzarote,” Betancort said. 

“We know very well that working women on our islands are strong, resilient and that, throughout the twentieth century and today, they have been facing new challenges always beyond their workplaces, because they have dealt with the adversities of the climate, combining motherhood with intense working days, receiving salaries lower than those of their male colleagues and even having to put up with, in many cases (more than they should when it should be in none), macho attitudes and behaviours. Even so, they have moved forward without allowing their spirit to be broken.

These women, with their work, have ensured our traditions, our culture endure, and they are an example of dignity and of the struggle for equality and recognition of their work in a world that is often hostile and always very hard, especially for them, for women,” Betancort added.. “And for all these reasons, I would like that, from now on, when we look at this statue that pays tribute to them, we see the symbol of our gratitude to their strength, tenacity, contribution to family and collective development, and love for our past and for the importance of keeping the entire community together,”

The President concluded by offering his total admiration for what they represented in a very hard time: 

“They have known how to be there and lend a hand, even in those times of explosion of the Lanzarote fishing industry, and those values are to be admired, remembered and transmitted to the new generations-

For his part, the vice president of the Cabildo, Jacobo Medina, said that it is a sculpture “that stages where we come from. The canning industry was the source of food for many families on the island, and we must always remember our identity,”

Likewise, the Minister of Social Welfare, Equality and Inclusion, Marci Acuña, stressed that the figure of the cannery reflects the most essential of women´s work in the factories: industrialized work and sacrifice, in addition to managing to capture the feminine aesthetics of her time to carry out this work, for which he congratulated the young artist from Lanzarote Cintia Machín Morín, who has a recognized prestige and experience.

In fact, she is the author of the sculpture referring to Canarian wrestling ‘La Cantera’, located in Yaiza; the statue of Víctor Fernández Gopar ‘El Salinero’, located in the same municipality, and the statue of Christopher Columbus in the Plaza de las Américas, in La Gomera, among other works.

As somebody who came to live here on the island eight years ago after many years of family holidays here, I must admit that ever since primary school in England my preferred method of learning has been through the arts. I learn far more about from music, poetry, paintings and sculptures than I would from any academic book. I think one of the reasons I feel so comfortable on the island is because its people seem to acknowledge that learning in that way is as valid as through formal education, and so the people of Lanzarote value their artists and artisans.

Following my viewing the works of Cintia Machín my  subsequent ´research revealed a history of the sport of wrestling  on the island, the relationship between Victor Gopa (statue shown right with Cintia in the worst calima of the year, but he was unmoved !) and the coastline of Lanzarote and his relationship with Janubia de Salinas, the salt pans outside Playa Blanca and now of the connection between the fishing and canning industries on the island.

The sculptures at the salt fields are framed by the lagoon and the sea beyond and a cemi-circle of rugged cliffs. On any given evening, these statues are standing  in front of a glorious sunset, and seem to be wondering who all these people are standing in front of them and taking photographa. It has to be saif the two statues are excellent at standing still whilst posing for the photo-shoot ! 

In the 1960s, there were up to five canning factories in Lanzarote: Lloret y LLinares, Afersa (later Garavilla), Conservera Canarias, Hijos de Ángel Ojeda and Rocar, and later, the Frigorsa and Atunera Canarias fish freezing train and ice factory. Each of them had a workforce of between 250 and 400 women.    It was they, the women canners, who were indispensable to guarantee the survival of families, for not only did they sustain a large part of the island’s economy, but they also favoured the co-existence of women and men in the workplace, which meant a great advance in the inclusion of women in productive work, with an important impact on the feminist struggle:  the visibility, economic independence, recognition and prestige of women as professionals.

All working women were forced to assume the role of “the ideal woman”. However, many accepted it and others continued to work. Many women complained about the difficult situation they had to deal with, where the harshness of the work of loading and unloading goods was added to the terrible hygienic and sanitary conditions, with very little ventilation and a shortage of air and light, so that it did not alter the product.

We st out again tomorrow morning to follow Sidetracks And detours in search of arts related news items for your interest. Our itinerary for the week is to take in a classical guitar recital,  to visit the UK in search of anew place for poetry, And then to head back home to the island to learn more about the history of Lanzarote from Cinitia Machin and her wonderful sculptures that decorate the island. The its over to America to see a strange interpretation of The Battle Of The Blues And Greys.  We´´ be back hone on Friday to continue work on building our bigger bookshelf, which might need strengthening too as we are hoping to place upon it The Music Of The (American Civil War that we will purchase whilst in the States.

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